The main reason why I started this blog, though, is to share with others in their quarter life that it is ok to not have your life all figured out after graduating college. I had hoped that my story would inspire others to make changes in their lives to better themselves and to follow their hearts, even though these changes may be drastic and scary. In the hope to continue to inspire others, I wanted to create this Quarter Life Weekend Update series. It may not be every weekend, but I wanted to have a place where I could talk about the challenges I have faced during my quarter life in hopes that others with similar stories will be able to find a place to relate and discuss. Let's begin...
Someone once asked me the following question:
"At what point in your life do you consider yourself to be an adult?"
Is it when you graduate college? Move into your own place? Start your career? Get married? Or is it defined by something like age?
For me, I believe I won't truly feel like an adult until I do two of those things: moving into my own place and starting my career. And right now, I'm doing one of them.
A few weeks ago, I had an insanely busy week. In one day, I had a demo lesson for a middle school science position and a second interview for an elementary position. I felt that both went well, and they said by the end of the week they would call me with an answer. I was thrilled with the fact that my job search could be over so suddenly, which is somewhat unheard of in the teaching field. I didn't want to get ahead of myself, but I began to imagine what it would be like to work in either position.
I received a part-time offer at the elementary school, but unfortunately I had to turn it down. The school is 1 1/2 hours away, and a part time salary would not have been sufficient to cover the costs of living out there. I was disappointed it didn't work out, but I was also relieved that I wouldn't have to make a difficult choice. If the right job was offered to me, would I have taken it and moved 1 1/2 hours towards the Pennsylvania border? It was something that had kept me up the entire night before, because I did not know if I was ready to make that sort of decision. I don't think I would have a problem living on my own, but 1 1/2 hours from anyone I knew? That would be much different...
The second job just didn't work out, they decided to go ahead with another candidate. I was extremely disappointed, but I was happy to have had the opportunity to give a demo lesson. I tried to see the positive in the whole experience, but I'm not going to lie, I was despondent over the thought of having to start again from scratch. It was still early in the hiring season, but to get so close with two different places and then not have either of them work out is incredibly discouraging. Plus, by this point, I had sent out 70 applications, and I was forcing myself to search through the paper, stuff those manilla envelopes, and drag myself to the post office. I wasn't about to give up, though, because I knew I was made of better stuff than that. This whole story has been about facing one crisis after another, and I knew I could get over this week.
And sure enough, the following week I was invited to a group interview for a middle school science leave replacement position at a school down the street. I practiced my responses to some of the trickier questions I was asked during my other two interviews. I made copies of transcripts, Praxis scores, and letters of recommendation for my portfolio. I woke up early the day of the interview to research the school. I even signed up to substitute teach in a middle school science class that week, just so I could get back in the classroom so I may bring pertinent stories and experience into my interview and (hopefully) demo lesson, if they asked for one. I put every effort I had into this interview, and although I knew it was just for a maternity leave replacement, it was the foot in the door I needed.
The interview went well, and before I arrived home there was an email in my inbox asking me to come back in for a demo lesson. My lesson was to be a review of the metric system, and I put together a Powerpoint of tools used for metric measurement, reviewed how I would use the SmartBoard, created a review game and worksheet, and came up with ways I could help students connect the prefixes they saw on the page to measurements in the laboratory. Afterwards, I met with the vice principal, who admitted he thought I was a strong candidate. The second demo lesson was being conducted the following day, and the supervisor said she would give me a call afterwards.
I sat on pins and needles that entire morning. I was in the car with my parents, about to head down to Hilton Head, and I couldn't put my phone down for a second, in case that was the second in which she called. I know it sounds silly, but to come so close a third time, to be down to the final two, and then not get it? Have you ever been so close to something a few times, only to have it all fall through? I didn't want to think about the dwindling number of job openings in the papers or online, and I wondered if anything would come up for me for the rest of the summer.
The phone rang, I answered, and I was asked to come work at the school in September. I immediately agreed, and now plans are underway. The position is only a 2-month maternity leave, but it's the experience I need to land a full-time position. Plus, the more I think about it, the more I fall in love with it. It's a 7th grade life sciences position, the age and subject I'd want to teach. I will be starting off the year instead of picking up someone else's class. I'll do back to school night and other beginning of the year events. I'm already planning out what I will say on the first day of school, how I will lay down the ground rules, and how I will set the tone for the year. Plus, the position is right down the street, so it couldn't get much better than that when it comes to saving up money.
Even though I might not have wanted to admit it, I did imagine myself with a full time position for the 2012 - 2013 year. It sort of reminds me of what I was like during college, where I imagined myself beginning my career right out of school, moving into my own place, and becoming a full-fledged adult by the time I was this age. I had said this before, and I'll say it again, one of the most difficult things about being in your quarter life is that many people do have those expectations for themselves, and when those expectations are not met, you begin to feel as if you're doing something wrong, or that you failed at something. Enter the quarter life crisis.
It takes some time, but I have come to accept that whether or not you're living out on your own or have a full time job does not make you any less of an adult. I am beyond thrilled to be starting this journey, and I'll be sure to keep you updated along the way with more weekend updates!